Wednesday, January 24, 2007


.... in which Dave surfs the net and finds various and sundry things, throws them all in a blender, and makes a blog entry from the resulting slurry.

If there is a common theme here it is food.

Historical Cookbooks

A great selection of historical cookbooks has been placed online by MSU. Actually, it appears to have been online for some ime. I spent many an hour pouring over the summaries of these books. Some of them I actually skimmed the book! (Today's obsession: corn bread/pone/cakes/etc.) Most of the books date from the turn of the century (19th to 20th). This is a great historical resource. It will take some work to actually use many of the recipes, but sounds like a fun little project. Also note the role cookery played in sufferage and other social movements. Since this is primary source material no one is spelling this out, but lots to think about while browsing these cookbooks.

Hitler and Vegetarianism

Anyone who talks about the history of vegetarianism has probably had this experience: Mention that Gandhi or Shaw or Killer Kowalski was a vegetarian and be met with the response "but so was Hitler". Two points:

1) and? So? This is a common form of argument known as reductio ad Hitlerium.

and ...

2) was he? See the here and here. The second one goes into why this seems so important to many meat-eaters. Also see links on animal protectionism in Nazi Germany (sorry, that one is in German) and vegetarian societies in Germany.

But again, I really have a "so what even if he was" attitude here. Hitler was a non-smoker. Go bug the Lung Association people about Hitler and their pet cause. Me? I don't need to hear any more.

History of Chop Suey

I've always thought the story about Chop Suey being created for a conference with Chinese and American attendees was truth. Turns out that is not how it happened.

Before Chile

This is what I was looking for at the start of all this surfing around. I'm curious: many cuisines rely on chile peppers, but that is a new world ingredient and thus not available pre-1500s. What occupied the spot in, say Ethiopian cuisine, that chile does today? I'd imagine in some cases black peppercorns, but there has to be more than that. Oh well. Quest for an answer continues.

And no, this is not the weightier post mentioned yesterday. And I got the boabab tree thing wrong - it is not the oldest. On the other hand that was in parentheses, and such parenthetical musings can be disregarded.

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